Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I love that feeling.
I get that feeling when I can meet two needs in my home, with one job also.
For example, when you are vacuuming and the kids like to get in the way. Vacuuming is a job you need to do in the home, but the kids are beggin for attention too? Then, for us the vacuum becomes a "shark" and the couch becomes the "ship" and we are playing AND getting the floor cleaned!
Or, when you are cleaning the bathroom, and the kids are right there underfoot. Give them a sponge each, put them IN the tub and assign them a wall. A little colored water in a spray bottle will keep them busy for long enough to get the other stuff done AND you got points for both!
How about when you are waiting at the doctors office, or auto repair shop and you have busy hands and feet everywhere. Go, sit on the curb outside and count the cars going by, or play "I Spy" in the waiting room.
Take time the next few days and see when you can create memories, AND get the other stuff done. Remember, the memories are most important, but its nice when you can combine both!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Destressing our homes is a long process. Certainly, it cant be dealt with in one post (or at least not one any of us would want to sit and read :) but we can attack it alittle at a time.
First, I have become aware during the study by Elizabeth Green (Life Management for Busy Women) how important it is to LOVE our homes. Just like the Proverbs 31 woman who set about with active passion to building her home, we need to be passionate about our homes.
Our homes are the launching pad for our very important work for the God we serve. Its the base for our fundatmental teachings our children will leave home with. Its the haven they, he and we will return to for rest. Its an active school for teaching and learning vital lessons of God's love and His truth.
Its an important place.
Its takes work and passion to maintain and develop it into something more than four walls. It is not a passive process, but an active one where you as the "Home Manager" are constantly aware of what the residents' needs are, and how they are met. Its a place which is worth the stress and energy to make a haven of peace for your family.
So, we first must realize who important our homes are. And, how important it is that our homes are a place of peace, and not a generator of stress for those who belong there.
I will pray that you, dear friend, are able to find the direction you need to find your way through those stresses.
Monday, June 23, 2008
One big stressor for me is my weight - which I dont want to be a big stressor. I want to be happy with my body, the way God meant it to be. I realize though, that while I do need to be happy with the way God made me, He also wants me to take care of this resource He gave me.
So, I am DOing something about my weight, because its not as healthy as it needs to be. I am DOING it for the sake of stewardship of my body. I am DOING it because God would want that. While I am going to weigh, as a sign of my progress, I have determined that I shall not be slave to its number.
So, pick something off your SL and DO IT! Or, at least begin the process. Just being able to say that you are moving in the direction of decreasing that stress, can be a destressor!
And, a thought for today,
"The Lord gives strength to His people. The Lord blesses His people with peace." Psalms 29:11
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
We have talked in length about how stress takes our physical energy, and that its so important to get control of it because God uses our physical energy to fulfill our spiritual purpose!
The way we feel physically has much to do with how we feel otherwise. Ask anyone struggling with chronic illnesses, or constant pain - it effects everything. When we feel exhausted, painful, hungry, or dehydrated we feel mentally wearied as well. It makes us susceptible to being easily overwhelmed by smaller stresses, and less likely to manage larger stresses well.
So, we need to do what we can to get our bodies in the condition to take on energy, and spend it on the things we need to (in so much as it depends on us).
Some things that are required by our bodies to produce the most abundant and healthiest energy, are
- REST! ..never underestimate the need for sleep and quiet rest
- Eating right. ..I know, you want to roll your eyes, but its true. This is one of the most important ways to gaining the right kind of energy
- Exercising. I know, again, but its important!
- Taking vitamins.
- Regular Checkups ...not only for you, but for the family that depends on you!
- WATER WATER WATER ...we all need at least 64 oz a day.
- Avoiding things that sap our energy like too much sugar or caffine
Let me go into a couple of these a little further. I think we all know alot about the right food, and the right type of exercise to make part of our lives. That information is easily accessible, so I would encourage you to do that.
One thing I think isnt talked about enough is the need for proper rest!
So, lets talk about it.
Sleep is a very important way that our body restores itself from the stresses of the day on our organs, skin, heart, lungs, brain and immune system. Is role is profound, and often not fully understood.
Some of the benefits of sleep are immune system restoration, mentally organize stimulation from the day, weight control, hormonal balance, stress tolerance, organs/tissue repair, memory retention, and improved concentration (just to name a few).
Some of the effects of lack of sleep, and proper rest are decreased efficiency of the immune system, weight gain or inability to lose weight, increased craving for carbs/calories, increased risk for breast cancer, impaired glucose metabolism, increased risk for heart disease, increased risk for depression, increased hormonal imbalance, increased risk for GI problems, decreased skin health, increased risk for anxiety disorders, decreased emotional tolerance, and decreased alertness which increases risk for injury for yourself or those in your care.
These arent all the problems associated with lack a sleep, but they are a good enough list to get us realizing now important it is to rest!
Rest doesnt alway mean sleep - as we well, know, often being a mom means lack of sleep and the few hours we get are often interrupted by our family's needs.
Rest may mean just a decrease of stimulation. A shut door for 15 minutes when daddy gets home, or a quiet bath when the kids to go bed. Rest is a precious commodity, but one very important to keeping our bodies healthy, and able to manage all the jobs we have to manage.
Finally, dont forget that part of taking care of all of them means taking care of you too.
We cant possibly take care of them the way they deserve if we are exhausted, overwhelmed, malnourished or unhealthy (again, within our control).
So, consider this when you make your schedule. Allow for quiet, rest time. I know its seems like craziness to consider, but if you make it something that is important to you, it will happen.
Stress Strategies: get control of it, get it done, get a new plan, get a new perspective
Its an easy one to assess by looking at your calendar or, if you are one of those who dont write anything down, thinking about where you have been. Either way, you can determine where you are most of the time.
There is nothing wrong with either of these, as long as you are still fulfilling your purpose while you are there. And, that you are meeting the physical (healthy eating, rest, ordered environment), spiritual, and emotional (security, comfort) needs of those you are responsible for.
Its one of those "unfair" things...but like I say, it the way it is :)
If you have issues with telling people no, or feel pulled by things that arent part of your list of priorities and are unable to let them go...I would suggest reading, Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. This book, and its study have given me alot of insight into how to say no, and how to do it without feeling guilty :)
- Use your Stress List and your Priority List to help you determine which things on your list need to be managed first.
- Assign them a time of day (by noon, by dinnertime), day of the week, or a general time to get them done by
- Try to clump your "out of the house" things together, and those to a time of day that fits your families needs the best (home by the time daddy gets home, the toddlers naptime, nothing on certain days of the week, etc.)
- Look at your calendar, and eliminate whatever you dont love, things that cause "unworthy" stress, things that keep you from your priorities.
- Be HONEST - it may be something that you enjoy, but you know it takes away from your focus. It may be something the kids enjoy, but if its not the best for them, then it may need to be eliminated.
- Dont worry about what others think ..its easier said than done, I know. But so important. So often we do things not because its best for us, but because we just cant say no or we are afraid of what others with think if we arent involved with such and such.
Stress Strategies to apply: get rid of it, get it done, get control of it, get a new perspective, get a new plan
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Stress is a building block for so many other things that are more destructive feelings, which is where the sin lies.
How many times have you said, or been the victim of someone who says hurtful or does hurtful things then says "I was just really stressed out"?
What about the times that you yell at your children, talk hurtfully to your husband, feel bitter toward a task God gave you to do, are paralyzed into inaction by your feeling overwhelmed. Stress simply opens us up to other feelings that can lead us to a sinful place.
Take for example my favorite example of a lack of forks :). Every night at dinner the husband gets frustrated because he cant find a fork, that leads to his expressing his frustration, which leads me to being frustrated that I cant ever remember to buy any, making me ask the question "why cant I pull it together?", which leads to me feeling negative towards myself ..inadequate, and overwhelmed with ALL the things like that need doing in the house!
Or, when you open your closet and its full of clothes that dont fit. You get frustrated that they dont fit, you feel fat and out of control ....you all know where that one leads.
Stress left unchecked can lead to a whole range of negative emotions, which can lead to a whole list of possible sinful actions towards the people we love, and the God we serve.
So, just buy the forks, get rid of the grown clothes, get control of the laundry, just GO to the gym, get over what so-and-so said, ..it stops stress before it starts in those areas. That eliminates the possibility that that stress will cause you to stumble the next time!
And always remember, to "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour" I Peter 5:8
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Though I am sure she didnt do ALL that stuff in one day, she still got alot of stuff accomplished! She had vineyards to maintain, bread to bake, servant girls to manage (I wish I had servant girls to order), cloth to weave, children to take care of well enough for them to call her blessed, a husband whose needs she met, land to sell ...the chic was BUsy.
She had to have had alot of energy, cause she didnt just do it, she did it well.
This is really where all this destressing stuff started for me...realizing that God both gives me energy, and requires I use it toward the purpose he assigned. THAT means that I have some serious budgeting to do!
I am first reminded that I do HAVE at one point what I need to fulfill my purpose, because He said so, "God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work" II Corinthians 9:8
If I dont feel like I have an abundance of anything for my "good work", whether it be money, time ,or energy then I have to ask what happened to what God gave me? How have I mismanaged it so that I dont have any left?
I really believe, and am becoming more and more convinced every day, that stress is a huge part of what takes my energy. Thus, this effort to get rid of it!
Now, we know that we cant live a stressFREE life. The fact that we live a full life with family, husband, children, homes, and healthy (or not) bodies means that we have stress. Its part of life.
And, since we know that life means stress and stress takes energy, we have to determine for ourselves what stress is acceptable, and what stress isnt.
What things in our life are "worth" using our God-given energy for? What things are worth the stress that come with them? What stresses are acceptable (if not also somewhat manageable) because they fit into our purpose? THOSE are the things that are worth the energy and worth the stress that comes with them. Everything else, is not.
So, we determine what those things are.
Simply, determine what your priorities are. Keep them where you can see them. Line up everything you have to do, everything on your Stress List, and make sure you are putting your energy where it needs to be.
- List your priorities (five wasnt enough for me, so I have listed my top 7 priorities)
- Put them in a visible place (i.e., the first thing you see when you grab your Stress Less Journal)
- Use it to determine which things you will do first, second, third and not at all
Being a good mom, wife, daughter, friend, sister, and Christian requires energy; especially to do it well. Make sure that when your energy runs out, it was spent in the right place, in the right way.
Stress takes energy, but if the stress is due to the fact that you are trying to do what your purpose requires then its WORTHY stress, WORTHY energy.
Even still, we should be aware of how we are using it. We need to budget our energy like we do any other resource. Just like our money and time, we need to make sure we are spending our energy the best way possible.
So, we continue this quest to be good stewards of these precious resources...thanks for stickin with me!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Just sitting down and doing whatever they happen to be doing at the time. Ty loves it when I sit and play trains, cars, or picking up a crayon and color with him :)
Watching cartoons WITH them, ask questions and point details out. Cartoons help me get stuff done! But, I get quality time points when I sit down and watch with him for a minute or two. Ty loves to explain the storylines and tell me about his favorite characters. I have gotten a few laughs out of his explanations too!
Observation times in the real world. Stuck at the tire store or some other "adult" place where the isnt alot for kids to enjoy? Sit and count windows, cars passing, find colors or play and "I spy" game. Even boring times can be quality time!
Making messes. We COULD be stressed whenever we see a mess in the back yard, or with the toilet paper. And, obviously we cant let them get away with everything. But how bout the next time they are playing with the toilet paper you make it a game ...with a strict instruction to never do it again when its done! :) Or, spray them with the water hose instead of being upset they got it out (again, with strict instructions not to do it again!).
Car time. We have a DVD player in the mini-van. Its wonderful. But, I takes away some of our discussion, music, and observation time. Just like at home, turn it off and talk about their favorite music, characters, or what they see.
Feeling overwhelmed with all that you have to do, but the kids are begging for attention? USE THE TIMER! Again, kids love boundaries, so setting the timer either for a stop time for what you are doing (then their time starts), or you are setting the timer for "their" time - its a useful tool for fitting in those most important moments!
Another idea, to get more ideas, is a book like "Moms and the Move: Keeping Little Hands Busy". My mom gave me this book, and its about keeping little hands busy, and using those things as life and Godly lessons. LOVE IT.
Also, Usborne Books has a set of cards called "50 Rainy Day Activities" - they have ideas of stuff to do with your little ones and they are nice and easy to pick through :)
There are links attached to both of those so you can find them if you want them :)
So, todays challenge is to go PLAY with your kids! Remember, NOTHING on your list is more important than them!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
So also when I realized some even more interesting things about my kids' stress.
I asked the question, how does stress effect them, and what does their stress look like? Conversely, how do I reduce their stress?
I found answers that encouraged me, alarmed me, and inspired me to be more alert to all of our stress levels.
First, let me say that I have seen stressed out kids. I have seen kids that are insecure, they literally shake with anxiety, they worry more than kids should ..and its heartbreaking. My kids dont do that, but I see that they still do carry some stress that they display a little differently.
Then, here are some things I picked up on as a evidence of their stress ...
- Fit throwing ..both more than their usual personalities
- Mean to siblings, or friends
- Discipline issues
- Physical aggression
Somethings I have noted that cause them stress ...
- Lack of proper sleep
- Lack of proper rest (this may not be sleep, but just quiet)
- Too busy of a schedule
- Lack of consistant discipline
- Lack of routine (kids thrive on knowing what to expect!)
- MY stress stresses my kids
- Yelling (this one makes me sad ...and I have to work on it)
- Lack of healthy eating (especially protein intake)
- Too much sugar (this one is big for my kids!)
- Lack of one-on-one time
- Clutter in their spaces (I was little shocked by that one!)
- My being on the phone or the internet
Its amazing, to note that when my kids have these stressors our discipline issues greatly increase. I can just about promise you if Ty is being especially hard to get along with, I have not given him the time he needs today. If they are getting hard to manage in public, could it be you need to be home more? If they are getting really whiney, consider if they have eaten, when and what? Dont forget water!
Think about what stress does to you, then imagine that your precious babies are feeling that same feeling. Is there something that I can do, or NOT do that will keep that from happening?
How often does YOUR stress effect them? Think about that bad day, that day you are feeling bad or are overwhelmed...where are the kids? what are they doing? what are they experiencing when they watch you in that state?
I for one, feel more motivated to keep my stress under control!
Some things I have considered to help their stress levels ...
- Control mine.
- Keep a schedule that allows them proper naps/quiet time
- Make sure they get proper meals, and fluid intake
- Make sure to schedule one-on-one times
- Consistant discipline ..if you say it, then follow through
- Keep a routine they can count on ..we make sure to do all our running around in the morning, so we can count on afternoon at home.
- Order in their spaces (its weird, but they seem more calm when they know where their things are, and where they go when they are done playing)
- Using calm words, controlling my voice
- THE NUMBER ONE WAY TO RELIEVE THEIR STRESS...PLAY WITH THEM!
I know that I fall into the temptation of thinking being home is enough. I have to remind myself (or they will remind me!) that I need to really BE there, with them..one on one, eyeball to eyeball, skin to skin, toy to hand.
Remember, they are our purpose. NOTHING is more important than this job we have to do. NOTHING on your list is more important than those precious moments when you forget the dishes and play trains with your little boy. Your little girl will not forget the time you played tea party, dressup or make over (but not if the laundry is done).
One more thing, if you are aware of your kids love language then use that as a very useful way to reducing stress. Does focused time with your kids make a noted difference? Then set the timer for 15 minutes, and give it to them. Does touch create a connection with your babies? Then touch them every chance you can get, set the timer for 15 minutes and cuddle while you read a book.
On days when they are driving you the most crazy, grab them up, consider their stress, and DESTRESS them.
Its energy worth using. Its time you cant get back...dont waste it on stress, for you or your kids!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Since I have determined that managing this home well, and leading those therein is my purpose and passion right now, it kinna changes how I look at the jobs I have to do here. My focus, though unfair at times, is about these people God has seen fit for me to nurture, guide, teach, support, love and respect.
Its all about them. Its about teaching them and supporting them in everything they need to know and be to be strong Christians in the world. Now, that being said I believe that taking care of myself is part of taking care of them, so dont think that I mean that we have to disregard our needs completely ...but that they (our husbands and babies) are to be our focus and our motivation for doing what we do.
Since I have started looking at them that way, I have started to consider what stress they are under? What stresses out the husband? What about my kids? What does their stress look like? What do I need to do to decrease all of THEIR stress levels?
If stress effects me this way, how does it effect my children? If I am stressed, I know they respond to that, but how does it make them feel? How does my stress effect them, and what things create stress for them independent of my stress? How does stress effect my marriage, and how does his stress effect our family?
Again, I asked God to open my eyes to the things that cause my precious ones stress..and I was a little amazed. As well, I asked to show me how I could reduce it..and I was amazed again.
Lets start with Husbands ...
Since every one of these is different, they each would have their own triggers to cause stress. They carry so much weight with things they get from outside our home. Things like their jobs, family (extended) obligations, church obligations, financial pressure, pressure to provide, pressure to be good husbands and Christian men in the world.
Our homes are to be their havens. Their center in the storm, their place of comfort and LEAST stress. I realize that there are alot of things that I can change to make it more so for him, by paying attention to things in our home that cause him a sense of stress.
If you noticed that your being late to things causes him stress, its worth the effort to make the effort to be better about it.
If he says that having certain areas of the house out of control (the office, his closet) cause him stress, then help him to maintain a sense of order there (it may not be fair, but ...its our job)
If not having socks, underwear or other essentials available when he needs them, we need to make the effort to stay up on our laundry for his sake.
If it stresses him out to run out of deoderant, then try to make sure there is always a spare under the bathroom sink.
If it stresses him out for you to be on the internet when he is home, then try to time your surfing for husband-free times (I gotta work on this one..but, right now I am good..he is in class!)
Arent sure what adds stress? Or are you really ready to make this a priority? Ask him. You may be surprised with his response!
With effort, and a mindset of service (and a little humility) we can make our homes havens for them, and in turn us. It speaks love to these boys to attempt to care for them, its tough but so worth it!
And, not just avoiding stressful situations, but making the effort to create that atmosphere can be important. Again, you know your man better than anyone, so you know those things that give him a sense of "ahh, its good to be home"
A 10-minute nag-free break when he first gets home, before handing him his "hunny please do" list
Energy for him at the end of the day ;)
Homecooked meals, or a cookie jar full of his favorite cookie
Ironed shirts (good thing this isnt one of Adrians!)
Watch the football game with him ..oh, and ask questions.
Allow him a guilt-free golf trip, or night out with the guys (and a free night for you too!)
I know what you are saying..I dont have time, energy or the want-to to do to any of those things! :) BUT, when we manage our stress, and we dont waste our time and energy on the things that arent important, then we get to give it to the things and people that are. Even more so when you CHOOSE to conserve your energy for those things and people that are most important.
Its a wonderful cycle.
And remember. This is your purpose. NOTHING on your list is more important than your family, and your family started with HIM and YOU so its worth your time and effort.
OH, and I was also amazed that alot of the things that I noticed causing Adrian stress, also caused me stress. AND, that the solutions would work for decreasing BOTH of our stress levels, making our home more peaceful (2 for 1 deal). AND, I was more motivated because I wasnt just working on decreasing my stress, but his too and that was more worth it to me!
On a closing note, what husband wouldnt love a less stressed out wife? There, you are already doing him a favor :)
(Oh, and wait til you hear what I have learned about the kids!)
Monday, June 9, 2008
I like the concept, but I think I would like to restructure it a bit, add some dividers, take some away that I dont use, and put some emphasis on where my areas of stress are.
Also, a friend has recently showed me the website "Keeping the Home" and she uses a "Home Management Binder" (HMB)- the same idea, but with some added tabs that I liked.
So I think I am gonna use some ideas from both and make one that all about stressing less!
Here is what I have working so far:
I like to use the small 3-ring binder, better than the full size one. Its compact and easy to grab on the way out the door if need be. It has a pocket on the inside front and back covers that use alot.
The only drawback, they dont carry the notebook paper or dividers at Walmart. I know they carry them at the office supply stores, but check first before you plan on that size. I love it, but you may find the full size one works better for you.
I use one that doesnt have a clear front - I am a less is more kinna gal, so stuff on the front would feel cluttered to me. However, another friend who is building her HMB decorated the front of hers and she said it makes her happy to see her creativity on the front. So, whichever creates less stress, do that!
A tip: place an address label on the inside cover of your SLJ in case you were to ever leave it out and about!
Then, inside but not behind dividers yet:
Focus - This the first thing you see when you open your SLJ. Its where you plainly see what you are going toward. I have the verse, "But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD" Joshua 24:15. I have my top 6 priorities listed (five was one too few), and a short declarative statement of the kind of person I want to be.
This is a great place to refer to when you get overwhelmed and you need to decide what to do next! Its a place to renew your focus! Make it yours ...
A Monthly Calendar - I love the planner line at Target. Their calendars and inserts are so cute, and have added little "to do" lists on the calendar itself that I like. Also, they are tabbed which makes it easy to get to a month either in the past, present or future (Thus making it unnessessary to put a divider also)
My list of Emergency Numbers/Family Addresses and Numbers - I have these set behind my calendar. I have listed (typed, cause it feels less cluttered to me) all the doctors we use, pediatrician, dentist, family doctor, ob/gyn and our pharmacy. These are quick access when I need them.Also, I have listed all my family's individual addresses and phone numbers. I live away from all of my family, so we do alot of mailing and calling eachother. Its a quick reference for when I need to mail a package or whatever.
NOTE: you may prefer putting another set of address/number tabs in your binder. It makes it feel too heavy for me, and as I dont use those that often, I keep a separate address book to refer to when I need it.
I keep this current not only for me, but in case anything were to happen to me, someone (i.e, the husband) would have easy access to all the info very easily.
Then, my dividers. I use dividers labeled with these names, with lined paper behind them:
Stress Lists - Here is where I do my daily planning and listing. The first page is the most recent list, which I update and carry over from another day's list if I need to.
I also have a lists specifically for the House, Husband, and Kids. The Husband and Kids are new lists I just started, which I will tell you about later. But the idea is being aware of the things that cause them stress, and making those part of my planning as well.
Your Home SL can also double as your "Hunny Please Do" List.
From here I can go to my other dividers and plan menus, shopping trips, my prayer list..but this is where it starts.
Shopping List - The FIRST page of this, I have a WONDERFUL piece of paper that I have been working for awhile, and use often. Its a running list of meals, recipes, etc. that I have made before. Its so that when I am menu planning I can just refer to my list to jog my memory into the things that I like to make or have made before.
This one is accessible to the Husband as well. I keep a running list of items that I need to get next time I go to the store (grocery or Walmart/Target), so he can add stuff to that if he needs to. And, when I think of something I need I just write it there.
When its time to go, you just grab the list and go, and not worry about having to remember everything you have thought of the last week!
Menu - To be honest, I dont have one of these. I have figured out a system that works better for me. I plan my menu with my "Menu List" in my Shopping List section, and I use my calendar to write in the meals I have planned (based on what I have stocked up, and what is on sale at the grocery store). But, it makes sense that some people would prefer a separate place to put their recipes and lists. So, if you are one of those, and it would reduce stress..add it! :)
Routines/Schedule - Remember that routines, and schedules arent the same thing! Some people get stressed at the very idea of a schedule. But whether you are an organizer or not, we all do better if we have a plan for our day!
Routines are things you do regularly to keep your home, kids and priorities in order. We will talk more about this later. But for now, this is a place where you can get a rough idea of how can keep the house, laundry, and regular activities in order.
Schedules can be helpful for planning out today. Take your "DO" part of your SL and plan which of those have to done today, and when are going to do it. Dont worry about specific times - rarely do those work, but rather times of day (morning, or by lunchtime/dinnertime). Also, if there are things that dont need to be done today, but by a certain other day, put those on your weekly schedule.
Every Monday I look at my calendar and Stress List, and plan my week out. Its general, but I get a plan in mind. I know that this week I am out of pocket all day on Tuesday for a class, and I need to nap Friday afternoon becuase I work Friday night, Adrian has class Tues/Thursday nights ..and then I fill in the open time slots with the things I need to do. Its general, flexible, but helpful.
If you are a homeschooler, use this place to list the order of the day for each child or group of kids.
Goals - This is a new one, thanks to a friend who shared the HMB with me. Its a place to put specific goals related to yourself, children or your home. I like the children part.
She uses it to plan for her kids teaching goals (learn shapes, colors, scripture memorization, how to say please every time, etc.). She, and alot of you, homeschool. Use this area to put your childrens educational, and learning goals. I like the idea of putting character building goals.
I plan to put goals for myself related to healthy habits, bible reading, prayer life, scripture memorization.
Even if you are NOT an organizer, it still helps to have things in writing.
Try to have a plan when you write your goals - how are you going to accomplish it, and by what date.
Prayer List - again, working from my SL, I add to my prayer list constantly. This is a great place to refer to in your quiet time, or leave open on the kitchen counter to add to and to reflect on throughout the day.
Add verses that you think of or find to boost your prayer power, and solidify that prayer in your mind. I am praying for a sweet friend who is about to have twin boys anyday. I have a verse I use when I pray for her ...it makes me feel that my prayers are more effective when I have a promise to back it up :)
Its also a great testimony to Gods power when you look back and see what He has done in the past for you ..dont throw this list away. File it to the back and when you are feeling doubtful, read it.
Scripture Memorization - This is place to put scriptures you want to, or are currently working on memorizing. I have the scriptures written out so I can glance at them easily.
Bible Study - if you are studying something specific, or for a class this is a great place to keep notes. I am using this section to study for the class I have mentioned with the ladies at church.
Ideas/Projects - I am a creative thinker, so I like to have a place to put my thoughts when they come to me. Whether its about my blog, a project I am working on for my Mommy and Me group, something at church, a gift idea for birthdays or Christmas. Its a great place to put things that come to you to work on later! And because you have them written down, you dont have to stress that you are gonna forget that great idea you had!
These are a few ideas, but tailor this book to your needs and projects. Some more ideas of dividers, are budget, deepcleaning lists (or Zones, if you are a FlyLady person), car maintenence, home maintenence, christmas/holiday planning...whatever divider will help decrease your stress by having it written, and planned make a tab!
Some more tips from someone who has had one of these for awhile:
- clean it out frequently - all those little pages can add up. Throw away when you are done, dont let it build up. It adds weight, clutter and stress!
- pay attention to sections you use, and ones you dont - it may surprise you which sections you dont use at all, get rid of them!
- I keep my stamps, and some blank notes in the front pocket of my book so I can easily write a note to a friend if they come to mind while I am praying.
- Keep a clear zipper pocket in the front of your book to keep pens, highlighter, white out pen, stamps, paper clips, etc.
- If you want to see if this would work for you but this is all a little overwhelming - start with a calendar, some paper, and set of dividers. Make a divider for SL, Shopping List, and Prayer List. Try those, and go from there. You will naturally add more dividers as you see it being helpful!
This can be a tremendously helpful tool with practice.
Setting it up takes the longest, the rest is just maintenence and reference.
Got more ideas for dividers? Do share :)
Sunday, June 8, 2008
The chapter we are on last week, and this coming week in our ladies bible class is called, "Managing your Home." She is talking about how we need to make our home a "heaven on earth" for our families and has some ideas on how to do that.
The part that really stood out to me this week was a section where she said, "..the wise woman builds her house. Its her assignment..and she willingly takes on the challenge, with passion and purpose."
She is, of course, referencing that woman of Proverbs 31 and the wise woman that Solomon refers to through Proverbs when advising his son on the type of woman to seek out. This woman (who I am conivinced is just ALL of his wives rolled into one..cant be that hard to be perfect when theres 1000s of you to work on it. ha!) challenges us from 1000's of years ago to be more, push harder. We have compared ourselves to her since he mentioned her ..woman are so competitive!
But, I digress.
That quote really hammers home something I have really been pondering ..that is, what is my purpose? And, is my purpose different than every other moms'? Or, as moms and wives do we share that common bond?
I think we do.
I believe, and am now convinced thoroughly, that it is my and every woman who has a home and family that our purpose IS that home and family.
Our homes are to be little Christian factories. We are the foremen, the training officers, the medical team, the floor managers. We are all important to this system of turning out more and more little worker bees for the Lord's kingdom.
Does this mean that we arent to have any activities out of the home? Nope ..how else would they learn to serve the church, keep a moral compass in the "real world", serve the poor, share the Good News with strangers, be a light in a dark world, be kind to those who are not kind, etc.
We are simply make our homes and the little people (and one other big person) our JOB. Its about making them the first priority, and everything else falls behind and answers to.
That is the key. Because, being a mom is not fair. Really.
I have had a day like that this week. When I am faced with a full-frontal attack from Satan where he shows me so clearly how its not fair that I am responsible for EVERYONE in this house. Not only their clothes, food, hygiene, schedules, health ..but also their moral and spiritual development.
Its not fair that I have to think about all of them before me, or that I cant even go potty without considering how it will effect them first.
Its not fair that I cant eat dinner, or even make a plate until all have been fed and filled.
Its not fair that I am responsible for cooking, cleaning, planning, budgeting, managing ...for all of them.
But, its my job. Its my purpose. And, its not about me. Its about God's big picture.
And, my doing my job well, with passion and purpose of a person filled with the understanding that this is a HUGE part of God's plan - is all important.
This little Christian factory is only one in generations of Christian factories. And we will be turning out Christians for generations to come...if I do my job right.
So, when you are considering your stress. First consider your purpose.
Put it into perspective - you are part of a whole. A HUGE part of a whole. Your role is all-important.
No complaining, whining, bitterness ..just accepting. Its not fair - but its the way it is.
God has given us a wonderfully huge responsibility, one we accepted the day we committed our lives to God, and then made a family to go with that commitment.
So, lets do our jobs well. Lost souls depend on it. Once you accept that, some of your stress will go away. I promise.
Meaning, I think the Spirit can sometimes use that feeling to remind us that we arent where we need to be.
Example, when I spend alot of time on the internet, or on the phone with the girlfriend I start getting that tension, "not quite comfortable" feeling. I notice the kids getting antsy or the things not getting done that need to be.
Another one. On days when you are trying to get stuff done, working on your "stress list", or even doing things for others and the husband or the friend keep interupting. You are getting stuff done but your stress seems hardly less than when you started.
Is that Satan making me feel that way, or the Spirit telling me I need to refocus my energy right now?
My mom used to call that tension a "caution". It was a feelign like things werent quite right, or that she needed to pay closer attention to what was going on. She used it usually in reference to feeling that way about big decisions, but I think that it applies here also.
I think that the Spirit can cause my heart to feel a sense of "not rightness" to make me pay attention to what is going on in the moment, and what I may need to change.
So, in being made aware of our stresses and thus making a plan to change that, we need to also consider the source beyond the activity itself. Not only is the fact that I am on the internet at certain times a day cause stress, and here is the solution; but WHY is that causing me stress?
Is it the Spirit prompting me to focus my attention elsewhere?
Remember, when Jesus first spoke of the Spirit to his disciples before his death, he told them
"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26 (NIV)
I love the language of this passage as The Message puts it, "I'm telling you these things while I'm still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I'm leaving you well and whole. That's my parting gift to you. Peace." John 14:25-26
I believe that Satan can use stress a powerful tool, but so can the Spirit.
You know that if you have a purpose, and as a Christian you do, then you know that there are expectations and a list of priorities that come with the job. If what you are doing, or NOT doing is causing stress then first always question whether that something conflicts with that purpose?
Serving the church is a great thing to do, but not the best thing, if your family is not being taken care of.
AND, remember that stress itself is not a SIN, its when we allow it to consume us to the point of it being a power tool for Satan that we are in the wrong.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
So naturally once I realized I had all this stress looming about me I had to come up with a solution for it.
First, I shall not forget that this is for the purpose of being better equipped for God's purpose for me. Good. Cause some of these things are gonna take work and its nice to know He is on my side :)
Then, I start to keep a list.
I love lists.
They are concise, and clean. I can mark it off and its done. If its not done I can see and it challenges me to take are of it. They keep me on task.
I renamed my "To Do" list, and called it what it was. It is now my "Stress List."
On my stress list I put anything that I realize at any point is causing me stress. I put everything from worrying about a friend or family member, to needing to go grocery shopping, or do the bills. I may put that I feel fat today, or that I havent worked out in a week. I may put the hole in the wall in the bathroom needs fixed, or the laundry needs put away. I may put that my heart is really heavy about a friend losing her dad, or a friend in the last stages of a pregnancy and I worry for them. I may put that I need to study for bible class, or I promised someone I would watch their kids today. I might put that Ty is being really disrespectful, and Canon wont "stop" when I tell him to. Maybe I realize the kids havent been out of the house for a week, or I need out of the house! It may be that I havent spent anytime with my husband, girlfriends, mom or sisters lately, and I need to.
I put everything.
I have used that time that I make my list everyday to also make it a time to give each of the things to God. That first.
I am not sure He cares about the hole in the wall in the bathroom, but writing it down and telling Him about it reminds me to be thankful for the house the wall with the hole in it..is in.
I also keep it running all day. Whenever I realize something..I write it down. Or, at the very least make a mental note of it.
I have my Stress List in my Flylady inspired "Control Journal" You can also put in your "Home Management Binder", brought to you by another home management website called Keeping the Home. I think I am gonna work on my own and call it my Stress Less Journal and combine the two. Or, you can put it anywhere you keep your lists.
Having it written makes it more real, and thus more attackable.
Then, we move on to deploying our weapons.
Stress Less Strategies
I started pondering these and I have learned to use them pretty regularly. They make me less stressed :)
Aside from giving them to God from the realization point, look at your stress and apply one of these:
1) Get RID of it
2) Get CONTROL of it
3) Get it DONE
4) Get OVER it
5) Give it to GOD, again.
I decided this week to add two more, Get a new PLAN ..because sometimes the strategy we chose doesnt work out, and we just have to rethink it. And, Get a new PERSPECTIVE, cause sometimes thats all it takes.
Get RID of it, that one is pretty clear but its a great one! So often stuff makes us feel stressed. Whether its because we have too much of something, we dont have room for it, it makes us feel guilty for some reason (clothes that dont fit in your closet), its old and broken, its dirty or worn out. Getting rid of stuff is SO freeing! And, less stuff means less to stress over!
I wrote on my other blog about this topic, with some tips on how to make it happen. If you are interested, click here.
One other thing you can apply this to, is your schedule. If there are things there that are stressing you get rid of it from your schedule. Too much time away from home? Might need to look at what you can get rid of!
Get CONTROL of it. I came up with this one specifically to deal with my laundry! I hate laundry. It stresses me out. But I cant get rid of it. So, it must be dealt with it. So, I have to figure out a solution to get control of it. Doing things the way I was doing them was too stressful. I waited and did it all in one day, but fell short of completing the project cause I HATE putting it away. I would end up with baskets of clean but either not folded, or folded but not put away laundry. I had to get control of it.
When I am on my game I do one or two loads a day, completing it all the way through the put away. ON a good day. Like I said, I am still on this journey. I havent arrived yet.
Get it DONE. This applies to most of the things on my daily Stress Lists. Its the grocery shopping, the bill paying, the studying for class, etc. Its the stuff that there is no other solution for besides doing it. Thing is, the stress is usually there in the first place because we put things off, thus creating more stress. SO, by having a "get it done", "just do it"attitude we can avoid alot of stress on ourselves!
Get OVER it. You know exactly what I mean girls. There are alot of things we stress over that we really neednt stress over. OR, the stressing doesnt help much, right? The socks he leaves on the floor every day? Stressful ..on you and him when you holler at him for it. But, if you chose (and you CAN) to get over it ..you will avoid alot of stress.
Also, this applies when we allow ourselves to get stressed over things that people say or do that irritate or upset us. We tend to ponder, discuss, ponder, sulk, ponder and create MORE stress for ourselves with the pondering. Our discussing and otherwise can also create stress for other people (the husband, mom, friend who has to listen to it!) ...so if you can, get over it sista.
Remember, you cant always chose what happens to you, but you can chose your reaction to it.
Get a new PLAN. Like I said, sometimes we have dealt with a stressor and it comes back. It may be a sign that we need to handle it differently. Did you TRY to get control of the laundry but you still were overwhelmed by it? Then maybe try getting rid of some of it by decreasing the number of outfits your kids have at their disposal. Did you try putting the dog food up where the 18 month old couldnt reach it (you thought) but they found it anyways? Get a new plan. Reorder. Reorganize. Reprioritize.
Get a new PERSPECTIVE. This one could go hand in hand with get over it but a little unique in that it asks for a different view point. Its about changing your attitude ..like, you have a ton to do today but one of the kids are sick and wont let you put them down but, you get a new perspective and realize that you have a good excuse to sit and read books to your kids all day and let the laundry go!
Then, Give it GOD, again. Thing is, there is plenty of things that cause us stress that we can do nothing about. We can continue allowing those things to sap energy from our spirits, or give them to someone who can handle it.
Remember to, "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." I Peter 5:7 (NLT)
And dont forget the goal. Its to be more able to hear His calling, to do His bidding and to be used as a tool for Him. Ask Him to show you the best strategy to deal with it - it certainly doesnt have to fit in any of these categories but He will show you if you ask Him!
Pulling it All Together
Now, go back to your list and apply one of these to each of the things on your list.
I found that when I did this, I had a great idea of where I needed to focus my energy. I had an idea of where my day needed to go to come out less stressed by the end. I realized I need to focus DAILY on my get control stuff, and I needed to plan a Goodwill trip for the get rid of stuff sometime this week, I needed to plan a get it done grocery shopping trip TODAY, and I needed to get a new plan for the kids' discipline issues AND get it done. I saw where I just shift my perspective, thus changing my outcomes.
Another little tidbit, when you do this, you come up with a great give it to God list, aka, a "prayer list" ..but that is another journal all together :)
So, make sense? If not, let me know ...and share if you use them or we need to add a strategy or two!
Thanks for taking this walk with me, I feel less stressed just having you here! :)
In becoming aware of my stressors I realized that they come in all shapes and sizes.
I realize its all around me. Its in my home, its in my schedule, in my body, in my kids, in my husband, its everywhere.
Its that feeling of tension that rests in our chests, shoulders, necks, stomachs. Also, its the feeling that can move from a little "blech" feeling to outright that "what am I going to do!" feeling. Its a weight in our hearts, a weariness in our souls. Its worry, fret, its the jumping board for so many things.
It can be anything from every night when you go to feed the kids you have to search for forks, to everyday you have to pick up the same twenty-five toys off the floor, to the laundry is never caught up, to you are never home, to your car is too cluttered to find anything in, to you havent eaten in 8 hours, to where are all the bandaids?
I am talking about the little things that we deal with daily that combine to create a mountain of stress!
Thing is, we all have a list of things we deem "big" things to stress over. You know the list, finances, moving, divorce, death, health issues. These are the "big" things.These are often things out of our control, though sometimes they are things we can make better with effort.
Since there are so many things OUT of our control, lets focus on getting control of the things that we CAN control.
Lets pick at that mountain of stress one little thing at a time, and watch it shrink. So, that when that mountain gets an "addition" we arent looking at Mount Everest right off the bat!
Truly, if a glass is full to the top and one little drop is placed in it...it overflows. We gotta pour out some of that stress we can get rid of so that when the stuff we cant help but take in comes, we dont "overflow".
Andy Stanley calls it "Margin" - I love this lesson. He talks about how there are white spaces on the edges of the page for a reason, because if the words went all the way to the edge of the page and there were spaces between sentences and paragraphs you would get lost and have a difficult time comprending the content. Margin is the extra room for the things that will happen (i.e., leaving room in the budget for emergencies, dont plan away every minute so there is no time for resting, etc.).
We are creating margin, a glass half-emptied, a hill instead of a mountain.
Its a good thing.
It distracts us from our purpose by muddling our thinking, clouding our vision of God and taking energy away from our lives and the precious people in them. It steals quiet moments from our husbands, children, friends, family and God.
It is present when we are awake and asleep.
It wearies our physical bodies, our minds, our hearts and our spirits.
It is ever-present.
Some degree of it is unavoidable.
For all this, I believe that Satan uses this as a very handy tool in his tool box when it comes to Christian women.
Consider this verse, "..be alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." I Peter 5:8 (NIV)
and from The Message, "Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up."
To me, stress has become a "prowling lion" that I have been made aware of. I suddenly see it, sneaking in the grass..waiting to strike at a moments notice.
I really believe that this is a way that Satan can strongly influence us as Christian woman. Even as we strive to be all that we need to be for our children, husbands, homes, communities and churches we find our selves open to this attack.
We have to be alert. Always alert to his ploys.
When I started really thinking about this, I stopped and considered what I was feeling in that moment.
I noted that my shoulders were tight, my stomach was anxious, my chest was heavy. I felt irritable, overwhelmed, guilty and inadequate. I feel frustrated with my home, my kids, my husband, my inability to manage it all.
No reason, and a thousand all at once.
I dont have anything "huge" happening to give me this feeling..its just life in general. ALL of it combined.
So, I asked God to show me. Show where my stress is hiding. What is stressing me out? What is going on that is adding to this overall feeling it "all" being more than I can handle?
And He did.
Started showing me things about my body, my thinking, my routines, my home, my habits...
I started seeing that "all of it" was made up of a million little things that worked together to make me feel generally "stressed".
So I started working on them. One at a time.
I am always on alert now. I see it everywhere. It IS everywhere.
THAT..is the beginning. Just seeing it.
SO, see it.
Pray that God will show it to you..He will.
During my studying for that class, and trying to incorporate her suggestions for making God a part of every facet of my life, I stumbled on a thought and concept in my own mind that has grown to a change in my thinking and an effort that effects everything I do.
This idea began slowly, and thoughts built on thoughts, thoughts became prayers, prayers became nudges from the Spirit, nudges became action and now it consumes my thinking on a daily if not hourly basis.
Its this concept that FIRST, I am a temple of the Holy Spirit - a vessel to do His work. I am tool in the hands of the Creator. My body is a valuable resource in His completing His work in my world.
This lead to a place of pondering about what that means, and how I take care of my body as a tool of God's. I realized that being able to do the work that He has planned for me requires ENERGY. To fulfull my purpose as He has assigned I have to have physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energy.
Looking at myself, I realize that THAT is in short supply nowadays! With two little ones under 4 years old, a husband and home to care for, other family and friend relationships that need supported and nurtured, church work and working as a nurse two weekends a month I realize I dont have alot of left over energy!
I started to get very introspective on what creates energy, and what takes it away from me. Because, what takes energy away from ME takes energy away from the possible work that God as for me to do, IF I am not using that energy to that end.
I discovered that there is one HUGE thing that we all have that creates a tremendous drain (with a powerful PUMP!) on our energy on every level (emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual).
It is stress.
This monster I struggle with constantly leaves me feeling drained, overwhelmed, guilty, unproductive, weary, muddled, out of focus and frustrated.
I look around at the people around me and I see stress written on the faces of men, women, children, mothers, fathers, friends, old, young ..so many.
I see people being overwhelmed with life in general and all the little things and big things that serve to bring us to a breaking point.
We are the most blest nation in the world, yet I wonder if for all the stress we dont see or arent able to enjoy that we are.
When I asked God to open my eyes to where my stress came from I was amazed at what I saw!
Here, is where I want to share that journey with you. I hope that you can find some truth here, and that we can together find our way to a stressLESS life in Christ!